Sometimes it is almost impossible to match a then and now view, and this is most definitely one of those scenarios. This then and now pairing shows what was known as Kenilworth Junction, situated in The Common. The bridge shown is that of Common Lane, as it crosses the railway from east to west.
Kenilworth Junction was a V shaped junction of the Kenilworth & Berkswell branch of the London & North-Western Railway (known as the L&NWR) and the Coventry & Leamington Branch of the L&NWR. The latter still exists today, joining Leamington to Coventry via the newly reopened Kenilworth Station. The former, the branch towards Berkswell, which once gave a direct route from Kenilworth to Birmingham, now requiring a change of trains at Coventry, was closed in the Beeching Cut era of the 1960s. It is nowadays used as the Kenilworth Greenway cycle and footpath, managed by SusTrans.
In his book Kenilworth’s Railway Age (Odibourne Press, 1985), Robin Leach records that the Berkswell branch had slowly become disused, save for staff training and occasional freight trains, and was closed and the tracks were lifted in 1966. As early as 1971, he tells us, there was talk of relaying the Berkswell branch due to delays caused by freight trains going through Coventry, precisely the reason it had first opened 88 years before! One wonders whether the reopening of Kenilworth’s station may one day cause this branch to one day to reopen, easing commuter journeys into Birmingham? The signal box shown was demolished in 1972 as the colour light signals were introduced to replace the old signalling.
The ‘now’ image was taken through the undergrowth and vegetation in the summer of 2018. A tall metal fence, brambles, a phone mast and an electricity sub-station obscure the view but a single arch of the bridge is visible through the trees. Behind this arch, work was under way to underpin the embankment in the background in preparation for the controversial Crackley Triangle housing development.